peanut butter snack cake

i know that our honeymoon was 5ever ago, but i still think about all of our little afternoon cake dates that we had in austria. nearly every afternoon on our trip, eggboy and i would sheepishly poke ourselves into an old cafe and assess the cake situation before looking for a place to sit. we were always just a wee bit tense until we actually had cake and coffee in front of us because we could never be sure if we were supposed to order at a counter, at our table, or if we should wait for a tray of cake to come parading around and then wave it down. it was stressful and my limited german wasn't such that i could confidently ask about a parading tray of cake, but boy is austrian café culture great.

what fascinated me most was how all of the cafés had such similar lineups of cake, and that they were all decorated the same way. like, all of the esterházy tortes in vienna had the same little squigglies and all of the punch cakes were the exact same shade of pink. it wasn't like some punk was sitting in the kitchen, deciding on a whim to cover an entire cake in sprinkles or make a naked cake and instagram it with a nudy joke. it was way more civilized than that. there were no sprinkles. 

after a week of afternoon cake dates, i learned that splitting a slice was simply not the way to go. eggboy eats cake too fast. he'd gobble up as much as he could without coming up for a breath and then open up his big paper map and linger over our path while i carefully ate each bite. i'd stare at the chandeliers, and get to know the texture and flavor of that cake. what made this esterházy torte different from the last esterházy torte? this glaze is like pudding skin..and before i could really get to know a new cake, it would be gone. so we started ordering two slices so that his rambunctious eating habits wouldn't leave me with no cake. 

we'd talk about who had probably eaten cake in that exact room and various cake-related history factoids. what kind of cake did mozart eat?? what do you think is the history behind the frosting squigglies? can you imagine what life was like for franz sacher???

it was perfect.

i miss it.

now that spring planting has started, i'll have to deliver some cake and a stanley thermos of coffee out to a tractor to relive our afternoon cake dates. 

but a fancy frosted cake with hundreds of years of history isn't so appropriate for a tractor cake date, i don't think. so here's my homey farmy translation of afternoon austrian cake: a finger food cake that isn't frosted or decorated, one that can be whipped up in a snap and enjoyed in such a rustic place as a tractor cab.

i know, unfrosted cake is a new concept for me. but once i tweaked this recipe just so, i decided that its moist sweet perfectly peanutty easy-to-make and easier-to-eat qualities left no need whatsoever for marzipan animals. so there you have it. no more excuses, go make cake. 

peanut butter snack cake

makes one 8-inch square cake


1 c sugar

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

 3/4 tsp baking soda

1 large egg

1/2 c buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c flavorless oil, like canola

6 tb water

1/2 c creamy peanut butter*


for serving:

powdered sugar

*the peanut butter that i use for this recipe only contains peanuts and salt, like smucker's natural and target's market pantry all natural.



preheat oven to 350.

grease an 8-inch square pan (or something similar, like the pan that i used), line the bottom with parchment paper, and set it aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then pour into cake pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then turn onto a lightly greased cooling wrack. 

dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares, and serve! store in an airtight container for up to a few days, or freeze for up to a few weeks.



this post features goodies from zola registry! eggboy and i used zola for our wedding registry and we had the jolliest time picking out homeware from their pretty collection as well as being able to add whatever else we wanted from around the internet. (how else can you have a smeg fridge and silkie chickens on your registry?) if you are engaged and looking to register, check out zola and get $25 added to your account with this link! also be sure to check out my little baking-centric tastemaker collectionthanks so much for sponsoring this post, zola!!! 

here are the pieces that are pictured: red rimmed plates // blue rimmed plates // red rimmed mugs // gold flatware // blue rimmed baking dish // kitchen-aid // linen napkins // square cake stand